Turkish delight as Razgatlioglu beats Rea in last lap thriller at Magny-Cours

by Robert Jones

Toprak Razgatlioglu secured his first ever win in World Superbike from sixteenth on the grid with a breathtaking ride ahead of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes

The opening five laps were carnage, as everyone jostled for position with contact on full display. Rea got a great start and led into turn one from Pole, but was soon embroiled in an emphatic battle with former teammate Sykes. 

On lap two, Sykes took the lead at Adelaide Corner before Rea fought-back coming out of the tight hairpin. Both overtakes resulted in small contact between the two with the chasing pack eager to take advantage. 

A few corners later and the duo swapped positions yet again, but this time Sykes made the move stick while Chaz Davies took full advantage of Rea being pushed wide. 

Davies was not done there as he soon past Sykes and took the lead on lap three. But just as the Welshman was looking in good shape, he nearly suffered a huge highside coming out of turn eight, which handed the lead back to Sykes. 

Davies was pushed back to third because of the mistake, with Rea in second and the fast starting Razgatlioglu who had already made his way into third by the end of lap three. 

On lap four, Sykes was leading with Razgatlioglu and Davies in second and third after Rea ran wide at Chateaux D’Eau, which would become a common theme of the race for the four-time champion. 

Two corners later and Davies was out of contention, as the Aruba.it Ducati rider made a costly error on the brakes and hit Razgatlioglu while going for the inside line, before ultimately crashing out of the race. 

As the battle continued, Michael Van Der Mark was making huge progress through the group, and took the lead when current leader Rea ran wide once again. 

This resulted in Rea and Razgatlioglu contesting second place with more hard racing, while Van Der Mark was slowly edging away as a result. 

The race was starting to settle into its rhythm, with small gaps appearing between groups. Rea and Razgatlioglu were quickly joined by Loris Baz, who made his way into fourth ahead of Sykes who was slipping back. 

As the last few laps approached, Rea then starting to catch Van Der Mark who was struggling with rear grip. The gap was steady at around one second for many laps, but with five remaining Rea started rapidly closing the Pata Yamaha rider down. 

Then with three laps left, Rea had completely closed the gap and was applying huge pressure to Van Der Mark. The win was there for the taking, but heading into Adelaide Corner, Van Der Mark took a tight defensive line and lost the front end. 

Credit: WorldSBK.com

It now looked like a certain victory for Rea, who had managed to create a small gap to Razgatlioglu. However, the Turkish rider was still in contention as the two started the final lap. 

Razgatlioglu was closing Rea down with each passing sector, and got a great run coming out of turns eleven and twelve before making a very smart race winning overtake at Chateaux D’Eau, the corner Rea had struggled at throughout the race. 

After missing out on his first win at Misano and Donington Park to Rea, it was a brilliant win for the 22 year-old and one that was very well deserved. 

Sykes was third ahead of Baz after pipping the Frenchman to the podium on the penultimate lap, with Alvaro Bautista producing another great comeback ride like in Portimao, after a disappointing Superpole session in which he qualified fourteenth. 

The Spaniard took fifth place from Alex Lowes late on, while Leon Camier produced a superb ride on his return from injury to finish seventh. 

Rounding out the to ten were the trio of Marco Melandri in eighth, Eugene Laverty ninth and Sandro Cortese taking tenth. 

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